Bob McGovern wrote: »
every year, many boats burn to their waterlines because someone used sub-standard wire or cheap connectors on their PV. May not be much volts, but the amps from a panel that size can really generate some heat.
October 12, 2000
Hull ID # __________________
Dear Hunter Passage 42 owner,
Because of a fire onboard a 1994, 42' Passage, Hunter began an investigation of its wiring. We have come to several conclusions surrounding this matter which we feel should be passed on to you.
From the information relayed to us, it appears that the boat was sitting unattended at the dock with the shore power connected and the inverter in the charge mode. It is unknown to us as to how long the boat was left un-attended or how long the inverters charging system had been activated. We do believe that at some point during the charging process a fire broke out inside of the engine / generator compartment on the inside of the boat. The fire damage prevents a definitive determination as to the true cause.
After our initial inspection, we found several things that, in our opinion, may or may not have caused the fire but should be addressed.
A 100 amp alternator was added to the engine at some point and time. Unfortunately, when this was done only the alternator lead wire going to the isolator switch was upgraded to the proper size. The isolator jumper wires should have also been upgraded, as well. This would have prevented the opportunity for heat to buildup and possibly, slowly, deteriorate the wiring.
A solar panel was added to the vessel and its wiring harness was tied into the main charging system of the boat. There were no upgrades made to the vessel's original wiring system for this upgrade.
A wind generator was also added to the boat at some time and point. Again, its wiring harness was tied into the main charging wiring system of the boat with no upgrading of the original wiring. It was also left with no fuse protection.
Due to the damage caused by the fire we were unable to determine the true condition of the batteries. However, our best guess from the inspection is they may have not been properly maintained with internal water.
It may be possible that the lead wire from the battery start switch overheated due to one or all of the following reasons: (1) poorly maintained batteries, (2) overloaded wiring from upgrade equipment and / or (3) leaving the battery switch in the incorrect position while utilizing the inverters charging system for an excessive period of time.
Based on the above, we have come to the conclusion that the charging leads and isolator wiring inside of this model boat may not be adequate for most of today's add-on equipment. Hunter Marine has chosen to offer a wiring upgrade to all P42 owners at no charge and pay for its installation. This upgrade would only be required on boats ranging in hull numbers from HUNP0001J990 through HUNP0180L495.
Regardless, WE DO NOT RECOMMEND THAT YOU LEAVE YOUR BOAT UNATTENDED FOR ANY REASON WHILE THE DOCKSIDE POWER IS ATTACHED TO IT. WE ALSO DO NOT RECOMMEND USING THE INVERTERS BATTERY CHARGING SYSTEM DURING NIGHTTIME HOURS.
We realize that due to their age, most of the P42's have seen many upgrades, some of which may have eliminated the inverter and / or isolator switch and their original wiring. Keeping this in mind, we ask that you please complete the attached form and return it in the self addressed stamped envelope to:
The Voyager's Handbook By Beth A. Leonard; page 265
I went out in the the cockpit and opened up the cockpit locker. An acrid white smoke came pouring out. Evan turned off the engine immediately while I grabbed the fire extinguisher from the galley. And inspection revealed that the solar panel had shorted out. The boatyard that had installed the panel had led the wires directly to the battery bus bar without the protection of a fuse. The short had started a smoldering electrical fire.
sv_makai wrote: »
It has been a while since I added to the conversation on this board but I am here very often reading.
As for adding panels on a boat. We have 4 kyrocea 120's that have been aboard makai know for almost 5 years, 3 of which were cruising fulltime in the southern caribe and South America. They are not "marinized" as mentioned above but it is very import to use marine rated cable, connetectors, and recommendation by the ABYC to mazimize protection and longevity. Salt water can do major damage quickly which at best causes a reduction in output and at worst.....
When i was orginally looking at westmarine and the like the prices for the exact same panels (model # and all) were more than twice the price. With 4 panels that is huge. I actually found the panels at another residential PV site similar to the hosts here.
The point is everything westmarine sells is not necessarily marinized, but is a good place to start. Not all marine use items are actually marine rated, but with proper setup and construction they will more than do the job. But I do recommend using marine rated cables as they are tinned to prevent corrosion along the entire cable. Though they are much more expensive it is a false saving to use standard cabling. I got my anco wiring from a supplier and saved more than half off the westmarine cost. So determine what you need and hunt it can be found!
sv_makai wrote: »
We have 4 kyrocea 120's that have been aboard makai know for almost 5 years, 3 of which were cruising fulltime in the southern caribe and South America.
Bob McGovern wrote: »
And all wiring & connections must be marinized as well; every year, many boats burn to their waterlines because someone used sub-standard wire or cheap connectors on their PV.
May not be much volts, but the amps from a panel that size can really generate some heat.
mike90045 wrote: »
It's not the Evil PV, it's homebrew wires that don't meet boat or even redneck trailer code.